At least the Pioneers will head into the remainder of their summer break on a winning note, as Michael Buenaventura finished with a team-high 10 points to spark Providence to a 39-35 victory against Pilibos on Monday in a Providence Summer League contest.
“I thought we closed out well in the first half [against Pilibos]. In the second half, they came back against us because they had a lot more intensity than we did.”
Providence, which advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-A playoffs last season under the direction of Chris Madigan, held a 24-12 lead before holding off a late comeback bid by Pilibos.
Madigan, whose team finished 15-11 last season, praised Buenaventura’s effort.
“He’s a ball magnet,” Madigan said. “He’s knows how to pass, shoot and compete so well and the team needs more players like that.
“He’s just a good and solid basketball player.”
Matthew Meza contributed nine points for Providence.
Pilibos began the second half with a 9-2 run to trim the deficit to 26-21 with 13:05 remaining. Grant Menke gave the Pioneers a 36-30 lead with a layup with 5:20 to go.
With Providence clinging to a 38-35 lead, Pilibos had possession and looked to tie the game. However, Pilibos committed a turnover on an errant pass with 8.6 seconds left.
Buenaventura then made the first of two free throws to close out the scoring with 6.9 seconds remaining.
Providence controlled the tempo throughout most of the first half. Nate Clark converted on a layup to give the Pioneers a 14-8 lead midway through the opening half. A jump shot by Meza with 3:04 left padded Providence’s advantage to 22-10 with 3:04 to go.
“We had our moments where we were OK in the first half,” Madigan said. “We were pretty solid and we were able to execute a lot of times.
“In the second half, Pilibos hit some three-pointers and they played with a little more life. We didn’t have that same sense of urgency in the second half.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .